George Hoekstra - Hoekstra Trading LLC
In the coming year, many North American refineries will begin increasing severity on gasoline posttreaters to make Tier 3 ultra-low sulfur gasoline. Our three-year program of pilot plant and commercial field tests has shown that, when posttreater severity is increased, octane destruction will increase by much more than has been expected by the industry. Field tests on twelve different commercial posttreaters show clearly that the observed octane destruction is typically five times higher than is being expected. This chart shows the comparison of expected versus actual measured octane loss at one U.S. refinery.
In this presentation, we will present data from commercial field tests during which our clients increased reactor temperatures to reduce sulfur to levels required for Tier 3 gasoline. Our analysis of the field tests includes detailed chemical analyses that show the reasons for octane loss and provide the data necessary to predict octane loss as a function of FCC naphtha composition, cut points, catalyst, and process selectivity. The transition to Tier 3 sulfur is coming at a time when octane is worth more than ever before, hence loss of octane supply capacity will have big financial impact. Refiners are using our field test data and tools to make informed decisions on use of new catalysts, capital investments, and operating strategies to mitigate the coming octane loss.